153

One for All: Optimism

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
This is the second album by One for All, an all-star group of young jazz veterans totally steeped in the hard bop tradition and group dynamic of the classic ensembles of Art Blakey and Horace Silver. Eric Alexander, the rising tenor sax phenom, and Peter Washington, the talented and ubiquitous bassist, are probably the best known players here, but all the band's members are respected figures on the New York scene with long lists of impressive credits. (Trombonist Steve Davis, for example, played in the last Jazz Messengers group and is a member of Jackie McLean's sextet. Not too shabby.) And these guys really know what they're doing, whether it's reworking standards like "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most," "What Kind of Fool Am I?" and "These Foolish Things," or tearing through a number of hard bop burners.

The band features a three-horn front line of Alexander, Davis, and trumpeter Joe Rotondi, with a rhythm section of David Hazeltine on piano, Joe Farnsworth on drums, and Washington on bass. All are first-rate players and are given plenty of opportunity to shine as soloists, with Alexander and Hazeltine making particularly noteworthy contributions.

The originals include two by Alexander and one each by Rotondi, Hazeltine, and Davis. The standout tunes are Davis' high-energy "Optimism" and trumpeter Rotondi's "The Prevaricator," which recalls, in its title and ferocious style, the 1960s compositions (think "The Sidewinder," "The Procrastinator," "The Rumproller") of hard-bop trumpet giant Lee Morgan. Alexander's "Straight Up" is a free-for-all blowin' session that gives the whole band room to strut its stuff.

For fun, and a decided change of pace, the group also offers a funky, slow groove take on "Stranger in Moscow," a song written by, of all people, Michael Jackson (yes, that Michael Jackson). I guess if Miles could record the gloved one ("Human Nature"), why not...


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Emily’s D+Evolution" CD/LP/Track Review Emily’s D+Evolution
by Mark F. Turner
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Songs Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Of Life
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Columbia Years 1968-1969" CD/LP/Track Review Columbia Years 1968-1969
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Genesis" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "EARS" CD/LP/Track Review EARS
by Rob Caldwell
Published: April 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!